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Branksome has a long tradition of excellence in debating and public speaking.
June 13, 2017
Debating First for Branksome and Canada
Known for its world-class debaters, Branksome will soon host "the Worlds."

In April 2019, Branksome will become the first Canadian school to host the prestigious World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships.

For more than three decades, the event has attracted the best high school debaters and public speakers in the English-speaking world.

"We are honoured and excited to host this event," says Deputy Principal Karrie Weinstock. "As an internationally minded school in an internationally minded city, we welcome the opportunity to share diverse ideas and opinions at Branksome Hall."

The event regularly attracts competitors from more than a dozen countries, such as Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Cyprus, England, Germany, India, Israel, Lithuania, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, the United States and Zimbabwe.

Held over five days each April, the tournament requires every participant to compete in four categories: debate; impromptu speaking; persuasive or after-dinner speaking; and interpretive reading.

Recent Successes at the Worlds

Competing at the Worlds since its early days, Branksome students have experienced stellar results.

For example, in 2010 in Lithuania, Zeenia FRAMROZE'11 placed first overall and made it into the finals in all speaking categories. Then, in 2012, Anisah MAHOMED'13 placed second overall when the event was held in Brisbane, Australia. In 2014 in Lithuania, Sonia MAHAJAN'14 placed 10th overall, and in 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Naz GOCEK'16 placed third.

Champions credit their debating experience with boosting their confidence and skills in diverse areas. Many alumnae who've found success in business, politics, academia and leadership roles were debaters at Branksome.

Benefits of Debating

Beginning in the Junior School, students are encouraged to communicate effectively.

"Debating and public speaking are valued as skills that all Branksome girls have," says Mrs. Weinstock. "It positions them as effective communicators and leaders."

She cites debating benefits such as "the confidence it gives young people in combining skills of research, seeing multiple perspectives, writing persuasively, and presenting effectively."

Debating also helps students learn about teamwork and how to motivate others. "You cannot debate without collaborating and being part of a team," she adds.

Other Opportunities to Shine

Branksome has a long tradition of excellence in debating and public speaking, for which Mrs. Weinstock credits the school's outstanding debating coaches and the talent and passion of the students themselves.

Over the years, Branksome's Debating and Public Speaking Program has fostered strong competitors in many high-calibre national and international events. In addition to the Worlds, our girls compete in the International Independent Schools' Public Speaking Championships (IISPSC), the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD), the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) and the National Public Speaking Championships (Senior and Junior)—to name a few. In February 2017, Branksome hosted the English-Speaking Union of Canada's HSBC National Public Speaking Competition for the second time and now is thrilled to be hosting the Worlds.

Our debaters have also excelled in a wide range of provincial competitions, such as the three annual Fulford tournaments for Ontario independent schools, and at debates hosted at Canadian universities, including McGill and at U of T's Hart House.

Each year, Branksome hosts the Nora McRae Public Speaking tournament for high school students from across Ontario and competes in other local school tournaments.

10 Elm Avenue, Toronto, ON M4W 1N4, Canada

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